When I first came to know Jesus as my personal Savior, I had so much to learn. It was an exciting time. I was learning huge theological truths about the Trinity and who God is, things I’d never thought about before. It became a whirlwind of understanding. I didn’t quite know how to relate to God, but I began to see Him as the Creator, Sustainer and Sovereign God that He is.
These things were so eye-opening to me; I was in awe of who God is. As I’ve grown in my knowledge of God and my relationship with Him, I don’t have as many crazy “aha” moments, but I experience more of a steady upward call to obedience and sanctification to become more like Him while resting in Him.
While many people find themselves questioning God or their faith when trials hit, I find that God has gifted me with the gift of faith. Through any trial I’ve suffered in my life, I’ve found myself being driven closer to God, instead of further away. It is easy for me to trust that the Lord is who He says He is. For instance, if Scripture said that the sky is green and I then walked outside and saw it to be blue, I would be quicker to think that my eyes are bad rather than question God’s Word. I know it’s true. Because of this gift, I feel a closeness to God, which I’m so grateful for. I rely on Him in every way. The Christian life is not simple, but trusting that He’s there, always sovereign and faithful, is easy for me.
Last year, my biological father passed away. While walking through moments of deep grief and the harsh reality of what had happened, I felt the Lord immediately step in. The Fatherly comfort and love that surrounded me in those moments was incredible. I knew God to be my true Father and Protector in a whole new way.
More recently, I’ve been experiencing Jesus to be a brother and friend. As I try to pursue more freedom in my worship of Him, I’ve been challenged to change things up. It used to be that I thought of worship on Sunday as two songs, about 10 minutes long, and if it runs over I have to go get my kids out of kids’ ministry because I don’t want them to be the last ones there. I put a hard stop on my time of church worship, as well as my daily reading commitment. But I am aiming to set aside more time in my life to have more freedom. I don’t want a watch to tell me I have to stop. The Lord has become more and more of a friend to me. When I visit a friend’s house to spend time with them, I don’t rush out when 30 minutes are up. I enjoy my time with them for as long as it takes, and I want to do the same with God.
Growing closer to God is similar to when you were dating your soon-to-be wife. In those days, everything is exciting and fun. But there’s something even more beautiful about the 10-, 20- or 30-year mark of marriage that leaves you with not as many ups and downs, but a steady confidence and love that has grown from the covenant you’ve made with each other.
That’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus. The years bring about more confidence, more love and more trust as I continue to discover who He is.
— Ryan Hollingshead, FC Dallas midfielder/defender
Ryan Hollingshead is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Ryan’s Increase profile here.
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